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Violent threats against the pro-life movement

A radical group promises “increasingly extreme tactics” beyond arson and vandalism

Vandalism with a message at Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in Asheville, N.C. Mountain Area Pregnancy Services

Violent threats against the pro-life movement

A wave of violence and property destruction has struck crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life advocacy groups, and churches nationwide since the draft U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked. It has even reached Asheville, N.C., home to WORLD News Group, where the staff of Mountain Area Pregnancy Services recently showed up to work last Tuesday to find the sidewalk in front of their center spray-painted, “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you.” Such a warning hits home. The day before, CompassCare Pregnancy Services in Buffalo, N.Y., was firebombed and vandalized.

When parents recently started showing up at local school board meetings, members of the National School Boards Association contemplated calling out the National Guard. They settled for asking the FBI and Secret Service to get involved and sought investigations of the parents as “domestic terrorists.” The attorney general of the United States promptly threatened the full weight of the U.S. Department of Justice against the meddlesome parents.

When the U.S. Capitol was overtaken on Jan. 6, 2021, law enforcement was concerned that follow-on Trump rallies at state capitols might turn similarly violent. Federal officials issued a nationwide bulletin, and some governors turned their capitol buildings into veritable fortresses. In Minnesota, for instance, “Dozens of state troopers and conservation officers in riot gear ringed the Capitol building. … An armored vehicle was parked at the base of the Capitol steps, and National Guard armored vehicles blocked nearby streets.” In the end, a half-dozen people showed up to protest in St. Paul, carrying homemade signs about election integrity. Nationwide, USA Today reported, “law enforcement members and journalists outnumbered the few people who showed up at state capitols.”

When a hostage situation happened in a Texas synagogue earlier this year, mayors in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas rightly deployed additional police presence to protect Jewish houses of worship to guard against copycat attacks. And in New York, the governor directed $10 million in taxpayer funds toward abortion centers for “safety and security.”

We have seen none of the same law enforcement concern for the nationwide surge in attacks on pro-life centers in the last month. The offices of Wisconsin Family Action in Madison went up in flames after radical activists threw Molotov cocktails through its office windows. A graffiti message read, “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either.” A group calling itself “Jane’s Revenge” took credit for the attack by contacting a reporter in the Netherlands. Three weeks later, no arrests have been made. Another Molotov cocktail attack took place at the offices of Oregon Right to Life.

The group’s statement closed with a suggestion of additional attacks, saying it “will not stop” or “hesitate to strike” until abortion’s legality is secure.

A similar threatening message—“If abortions aren’t safe then neither are you”—was spray-painted on the wall of the Alpha Crisis Pregnancy Center in Reisterstown, Md. The message also was painted on the exteriors of four churches in Olympia, Wash., again by the activists associated with the group known as Jane’s Revenge. This time they took credit through a statement on an anarchist website.

In its initial statement, Jane’s Revenge promised “increasingly extreme tactics.” It threatened a “military” component to its “political struggle,” saying the arson attack was “only a warning” and “Next time the infrastructure of the enslavers will not survive.” The group’s statement closed with a suggestion of additional attacks, saying it “will not stop” or “hesitate to strike” until abortion’s legality is secure.

Crisis pregnancy centers in Portland, Ore.; Manassas, Va.; and Frederick, Md., have also been vandalized as have churches with high-visibility pro-life ministries in Texas, Colorado, and Michigan.

And all of this is in addition to having U.S. Supreme Court justices under siege and the threat of assassination in their own homes due to left-wing protestors.

Abortion has always been the issue that generates the greatest level of radicalism in U.S. politics. And, in fairness, there have also been inexcusable attacks on abortion centers and abortionists that pro-life leaders have rightly condemned.

But ask yourself this simple question: If within one week, multiple Planned Parenthood facilities were subject to arson attacks, other abortion centers were graffitied with death threats, and an anonymous group of domestic terrorists took credit, how do you think the White House, Congress, and blue state governors and attorneys general would respond? Do you doubt for one minute that it would be front-page news in The New York Times and covered on networks other than Fox? Let us hope law enforcement makes this a priority before one of these attacks does more than property damage.

Daniel R. Suhr

Daniel R. Suhr is an attorney who fights for freedom in courts across America. He has worked as a senior adviser for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as a law clerk for Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, and at the national headquarters of the Federalist Society. He is a member of Christ Church Mequon. He is an Eagle Scout, and he loves spending time with his wife Anna and their two sons, Will and Graham, at their home near Milwaukee.

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